No vaccine certificate, no alcohol — Finland cracks down on bars

Bars and restaurants in Finland refusing to use Covid certificates will no longer serve booze after 5 p.m. in the latest attempt by the government to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

With winter coming, days in the northernmost tip of the European Union are becoming as short as six hours and intensive-care units in the country’s hospitals are filling up.

One way to try and contain the pandemic is to control behavior.

The government is telling restaurants and drinking establishments to close no later than 6 p.m. local time in Helsinki, unless they require patrons to provide a so-called Covid passport proving double vaccination, a recent negative test or recovery.

Cafes and fast-food joints can stay open, according to the proposal that could be firmed up as soon as Thursday.

An excess amount of alcohol weakens your immune system and being drunk lowers inhibitions and can potentially expose people to riskier behavior, such as not wearing a mask or breaching social-distancing rules.

Finland has a culture of heavy drinking, which likely played a role in the latest diktat. One in five Finnish men engage in binge drinking weekly, data show.

South Africa, which has one of the world’s highest levels of alcohol consumption, has had repeated bans of liquor sales to try and stem the spread of the disease.

Still, Finland is still at the softer end of the scale. In countries like France, a vaccine pass or a negative test within the previous 24 hours or proof of recovery from the virus are needed to drink inside bars.

In Ireland, proof of full vaccination or recovery in the past 6 months is required.

Now read: No vaccine, no alcohol a dumb idea — block access to restaurants and cinemas instead

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No vaccine certificate, no alcohol — Finland cracks down on bars